New Year, New Office, Same God

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Dear Friends,

I’m glad to be in our new office space. It was quite the journey to get here, but we are continuing to settle in and unpack. It already feels like our new home. Looking back on the past seven years at our previous location, we have a lot to be thankful for. While there, Outpost experienced highs and lows, times of prosperity and times of painful struggle. Things have certainly changed even within the three years I’ve been on staff. And yet God has been with us, loving us and touching the lives of men and women struggling with deep pain and sin patterns. Now God has provided a new place to continue ministering to the sexually and relationally broken Body of Christ.

I was recently reminded of the Isaiah passage above, where God declares how He is doing something new. It is easy in this season to be excited about the future and push through to the next big thing. And God is certainly calling Outpost into a new season: We are sensing His call to focus on some new areas of ministry as we walk alongside people and equip the Church. However, it’s worth understanding what the Bible means when it talks about remembering and forgetting, lest we misapply God’s grace to us.

From what I have studied, when the Bible talks about remembering and forgetting, it is not simply talking about mental recall. For example, when God promises that He will remember the sins of His people no more, does that mean God is incapable of recalling our sin? That can’t be the case; He’s God, after all! Rather, it means that God is choosing to not engage with His people based on their sin. Also, when the Bible says God remembered His promise to Abraham and his descendants, it can’t mean that God was saying, “Oops, I forgot that I promised to bless Abraham 400 years ago. I should do something about that.” It must mean that God was tangibly (from humanity’s perspective) acting on His promise.

So, when God says to forget the former things and to perceive the new thing He is doing, I don’t believe He means that we ignore what has happened and just bulldoze forward. After all, we can’t celebrate God’s goodness if we don’t remember how He has met us in the past. Rather, God calls us to not dwell in the past. To dwell is to make your home there, and God calls us to make our home with Him, not in a “golden era,” or even in the most painful experiences of our lives. God wants us to be fixated on Him, thus allowing us to hear His call and to go where He is going.

God Himself is unchanging, but He is in the business of making things new. The new things of God are still built upon His work on the Cross, the work of drawing people to Himself and bringing greater freedom and joy in Him. And while God may constantly call us forward, He does so on the basis of His eternal Word. The Gospel is the foundation on which Outpost stands. It is from the Gospel that God calls Outpost into new territories, even as His call on our ministry remains the same. Even if we miss the mark, either by dwelling in the past or missing God’s direction because of our sin and self-absorption, we can repent and start again, knowing that His mercies are new every moment and day (Lam. 3:22-23)!

Father, open our eyes to see the new thing You are doing. May we may be a part of Your work to bring streams in the desert! May we remember and be controlled by the Gospel, resting in the glorious riches of Your grace. Thank you, Jesus, for cleansing us and making us new creations. May You be glorified, and may Your Gospel be declared to all so that people would encounter You and know the freedom and joy You give. Amen.

About Scott R.

Scott has been involved with Outpost Ministries since 2019, initially as a group participant and then joining the staff team in late 2020. Scott has worked in collegiate ministry as a college pastor and disciple-maker. He also serves on leadership with Living Waters, a prayer ministry for those seeking healing and restoration. Scott has a passion to help people find true healing and growth in the Gospel as they encounter Jesus personally, becoming the good gift God has made them to be. He enjoys good friends, good games, and spoiling his pet ferret Zane (which he jokingly refers to as his “adopted son”).